On Sunday of this week, I received Timex’s newest GPS-based training watch, the Timex Ironman Run Trainer or TRT for short. I’m not going to give an in-depth review now, if you want one, go check out the review at dcrainmaker.com. His review is going to be more in-depth than anything I’ll care to do. I have not used it for a run just yet but I have been wearing it as a regular watch and I have a few important gripes about it.
- Every button is mushy, with uneven press/push coverage on the contacts underneath. The buttons feel soft and squishy, like they are pushing into mud. The buttons also do not have full contact with the electric contacts underneath them which means if you press the Indiglo button without paying much attention, you will notice it does not turn on until you press it closer to the bottom of the button (right above the RADIO button). Each of the four corner buttons are like this and this sucks. This cannot be fixed via a firmware update it is a hardware issue. NOTE: I realize this may be due to the necessary waterproofing rubber under the buttons but they could have given the buttons stiffer travel
- Indiglo SUCKS. Badly. Back in the 90s when I had other Timex digitals, it was great but the problem with is that it is simply not bright enough. I personally think they should have inverted the display scheme. Currently, the background is darker green than the digits. Inverting this would make the ability to adjust the contrast make the numbers more visible at night. I know it’s not bright enough because I stood in my living room last night, in complete darkness, and the read out was not all that clear to read. I could read it but the colors stink. In contrast to this, my Garmin FR210 is nearly blinding at night, I can read it from probably 2 feet away, I can barely read the TRT’s Indiglo display from 8 inches.
- The backlight sucks overall. It is just not bright enough at all but that’s only part of it: it stays on for less than four seconds. How do I know? I just tested it (it was on from 2:14:15 to 2:14:17 EST as timed on the watch itself). The backlight is on for 3 seconds total. Most Garmins stay on for 10+ seconds or longer. Luckily, this is fixable through a firmware update. Like Ray, I want configurable options of longer times or one of “indefinite”.
- It’s a bit confusing to use at first. I love the options this thing has, this is a serious watch on a casual budget. I had to read the manual twice just to make sure I understood all of the available options and information. I can’t recall the last time I read the manual for anything electronic but I had to for this thing.
- It’s HUGE. The face of the watch is so large I can actually sit my FR210 on the face of the TRT and it fits entirely on the face itself, 100%. The body of the watch is roughly 2 inches by 2 inches, so take that into account if you want one. Its size is hard to tell from review pictures because you have no frame of reference when it is on someone’s wrist but if you can fit another watch on the FACE of the TRT, that means it is big. If the larger size is not a big deal to you, this is an excellent watch.
Yes, those are my minor complaints from an entirely end user-based experience. I am not interested in testing its minutiae, I am interested in how easy it is to use. Luckily, most issues are fixable through firmware updates. I will be putting this thing through its paces on Saturday when I run the Superhero Scramble obstacle course race. The TRT is water resistant to 50M, which is 49M deeper than I will be swimming.